Friday, July 9, 2010

Chapter 19.5 Remember

He had seen it before.

Next to Alex, Paula's cheeks had been a bright red compared to her usually pale complexion. It didn't splotch. Instead it colored her whole face. If her ears weren't covered by her hair, he was sure they would most likely be the reddest part of her face.

Alex had tensed as if caught doing something wrong. Jimmy's eyes had narrowed to see him automatically behave so suspiciously. The people in the tribe he was from practically fucked right on top of each other. It was normal for an entire family to share one room.

Sex was not something Alex could be easily embarrassed about. So it had to be Paula.

They walked through the darkened street together, the binder under Jimmy's arm the only thing truly stopping him from grabbing Alex by the throat. It was completely irrational. Jimmy had no right to say anything, all things considered.

"You like her, don't you?" Jimmy asked Alex, his own voice carrying strongly enough in the dark that he would not have to repeat himself.

Alex turned a hardened gaze on him. The word had no meaning for Alex. In his tribe, when they wanted a girl, they mounted her and waited for the baby to pop out as a symbol of the claiming/bond between them.

It was obvious that Alex had no intention of doing that since Henri and Brandon were both watching her so closely. There was something else there after only a day spent with her. A fine line that was being crossed too easily and too quickly. Jimmy didn't believe it was something Alex would understand considering his upbringing.

He didn't know how to explain it, or what to say to make himself understood. He was as culpable as Alex.

"She's not one of us," Jimmy said. "It can't end well."

He could see Alex considering his words even though the man hadn't moved a muscle. Alex stood back not out of fear, but because he wanted time to react if Jimmy made a move.

"Besides, you have a mission."

Next Chapter -->


  1. ooh, I'm all caught up ... yay!

    This little interchange has revealed a lot, but also raised a lot of questions. Jimmy obviously wasn't as okay with seeing Alex and Paula together as I had first thought and Alex - did he hold back because of Henri? because of Brandon? or because he feels something more for Paula than just a physical desire and doesn't quite known how to handle it?

    But then, he does have a mission to think about ...

    Short but it grabbed my complete, undivided attention and I will now let my imagination run wild while waiting for the next instalment.

    That's the downside of being caught, now I have to wait like everyone else to find out what happens rather than just hitting the "next chapter" button :(

  2. Hmmm, this answered a couple of things but I think I now have even more questions!

    Is the mission they're referring too just how he's supposed to be watching Paula? Or is there something more to that that we don't know, seeing we see things from Paula's perspective most of the time?

    "She's not one of us," Jimmy said. "It can't end well."

    Oh. That reminded me of Mary. I bet Jimmy was thinking about her too.

  3. Oh, what Carla said! And especially since Mary was the interlude to Paula's story, and that has me wondering why you set it up that way. And that this chapter is called "remember". I hope and hope they've learned enough from the last time to protect Paula better this time :(

    I wondered about the mission too. It felt bigger than just watching over Paula.

  4. Welcome to the world of the caught up! :D

    You pose a good question, which is the same one Jimmy is wondering. Alex is not bashful. Sex is a part of life for him, so being attracted to someone wouldn't be something bad to him, even if it was Henri's daughter. I think Jimmy's going with there being something more between them than physical, something that he does feel slightly ashamed about.

    Haha, I hoped the imagination would run wild with this one. It sure surprised the hell outta me.

    And, lol! Awww... I know that feeling.

    Carla, you should have more questions. There are definitely a lot of clues in this piece. I pretty much threw this piece out with very minimal editing. It surprised me about two weeks ago.

    But you're right. He probably was thinking about his own personal experience.

    Laura, I was sort of wondering why I set it up that way too actually, lol. Well sometimes. Sometimes I actually think I might know what I'm doing!

    But we'll see if the lesson of Mary stuck.

  5. Interesting, Jimmy seems rather protective. I wonder if it's something to do with his past, or whether Brandon (or possibly Henri) has something to do with it?

    Questions, questions...

  6. Alex is from a tribe where natural affection is, at a minimum, discouraged. Somehow they've managed to stomp it all out?

    But Jimmy is not. So all the tribes/groups are not the same.

    Interesting that Alex would be standing there, saying NOTHING, waiting to be jumped for some transgression he's not supposed to understand. Occurs to me that there are a whole lot of people in denial here.

    Fascinated with Alex!!

  7. Poida, or heck, it could be both. :)

    SB, That's a good question. They definitely haven't stomped it out of him. It's ingrained, which is why Jimmy factors that into his behavior.

    Every tribe is definitely not the same. Of course it gets a little complicated here. In the wildlands, most people band into groups that have no culture really. The Southlands though has a very strong culture which is part of what makes them very dangerous as a group. And Alex's tribe... well we'll get to that.

    There are a lot of people in denial.

  8. Interesting insights here. I wonder whether the women of the tribes feel the same way about all this as the men.

  9. The title is "remember" and the first thing Jimmy thinks is "I've seen it before" and naturally I'm thinking "What has he seen before?"

    Sometimes the eyes see something it, but the brain registers it differently...

    He sees Paula blush and he thinks Alex behave suspiciously, but he strongly assumes its not because of sex. Did Alex feel guilty because he told Paula about the ancestry of the Wildlanders... or is Jimmy right and does Alex feel attracted to a teenaged girl in ways he cannot understand?

    It strikes me as peculiar that Jimmy considers Alex who is from a different tribe to be "one of us" and not Paula, who shares Henri's blood and genes. Even if he talked on a cultural level it still is odd, because Alex' culture and language are totally different as well.

    He is basically saying that cross-culture relationships can't work, isn't he? I too wonder whether he was thinking of Mary, but somehow that seemed very different and Jimmy himself was involved, so I'm not sure.

    Ooh! I absolutely love the idea of Alex being in the Wildlands on a special mission!

    Short, but very, very good! :)

  10. Oh Rad, that's an excellent question. I think the answer to that is pretty much exactly as you'd expect. Though I delved deeper into it when I was exploring Alex's story.

    Anon, thank you. Sometimes when I get such indepth comments, I realize how little I actually know about the story. It's a weird feeling that's almost scary, because I realize I'm not consciously in control. Is that weird? (Well, I do have that beret wearing gut, so I guess that can't be that weird.)

    I didn't even think about the guilt Alex would feel about revealing that information. Though I did write a piece that might make it's way here where Alex actually does think about that. Considering how preciously these people guard the past...

    You actually bring up an interesting observation. I don't imagine he's meaning culture or tribes, but at their base, he's talking about what they do-- if that makes sense. It's like there are two types of people in the world-- the fighters and... well I guess for now I'll call them the others. I have an idea of what he thinks of the others, but I'd like him to find a way to express it himself if he's going to express it at all.

    So in a way, he is saying cross-culture relationships can't work. Though in his mind, he'd probably be thinking of the fighters and the others.

    Thank you very much for your comment.

  11. Somehow, I was waiting for this conversation with Jimmy. He couldn't help BUT say something to Alex.

    It's interesting that the tribes seem to act more primitive when it comes to things like mating. Almost like their power has somehow thrown them back a few generations.

    And Alex's mission ...interesting.

  12. Carnaxa, maybe it's just my subconscious at work with the primitive mating rituals. But I would imagine that in a world like this where there really aren't rules, the worst would come out.

    I see it as something being set in motion. They could have gone in a better direction after the revolution, but something tipped them the wrong way. I would guess that what sent them down the wrong path was the early revolutionists-- Henri among them.

    Now that the ball is rolling, and most people can be horrible to one another, it takes a lot of work to try and push things back the other way. I think part of the fight against what they've become is the villages, which are supposed to be protected ground, but aren't necessarily.

    Does that make any sense? LOL! Basically, I see it like a mob/riot mentality. I see sometimes that people will follow the lead of others and get swept up in a movement. And I also think that it doesn't take very long at all to forget the old ways.

    Anyway, lol, just an interesting topic to me.

  13. Interesting topic for me too. We see a lot of that mob mentality even today which is sad.

    It's great that you're incorporating this into the tribes, I mean they are scary with their powers but this makes even more fearsome. You got to feel a bit for the people like Paula who have to live among these tribes.

  14. I keep going back to the idea that there might be some sort of dormant power in Paula - or maybe it is her humanity that is the power - that draws Alex to her in a way that is beyond physical. And the fact that Jimmy seems to sense it between them makes it even bigger. Or is it the fact that a connection with Paula makes them weaker.

    I do think Jimmy is reminded of Mary here. Nothing good can come of affection toward someone who is not like them. The urge to lunge at Alex is also interesting.

    I adore Alex so I am looking forward to learning more about his tribe and his mission.

    I don't even know if i am making sense...

  15. Hummm.... :)

    I am fixated on Jimmy's impulse to strangle Alex--why such a strong feeling? Is it a "you don't mess with Henri's weak daughter" sort of thing, or a "hey--I saw her first, buddy!"? I think probably the first is more likely--but why would he stop it? Why would Henri stop it? If this is the way life is for them, then why would they care if Paula shared that sort of fate (especially if they aren't going to train her and give her more options).

    I wonder if Alex would be embarrassed because caring for someone is considered a kind of weakness? Everyone there can understand lust--but they may struggle to understand any other kind of attachment or intimacy.

    Just like everyone else has already said, Jimmy's experience with Mary is so palpable here. I wonder if Jimmy thinks Henri is making a bad decision by taking Paula in. I also wonder what Henri thinks of all this....

  16. While I am partly disgusted by Alex's tribe (partly only, because, well, when everyone around you is like that and you grew up like that, that doesn't seem very abnormal), I am more surprised by Jimmy's reaction. Why did he care if Alex liked Paula? Plus, it felt like he cared because he cared about Paula, not because he cared about the mission or something else.

    I'm kinda surprised that Alex (and people from his tribe) don't seem to care about emotional attraction. It's like all they cared was physical attraction, and they don't have any shame about it too. He didn't seem like that, especially when he was pretty thoughtful when looking over Paula.

    Paula (hehe) is blushing, huh. I wonder if her heart was racing too. ;)

  17. Gayl, Hmmm, I never thought of it that way. Her humanity as a power. I think its true, I mean compared to others, it's probably something she has that others, including Alex, wouldn't see very often.

    I see Jimmy finding such a bond very dangerous. He probably is going off his own experience, but there is more there. He does feel conflicted, and he admits it to himself, that he hasn't got a right to feel that way.

    Rachel, I don't think even Jimmy knows where or why that impulse came along. He even admits it to himself that he has no right to feel that way. "He was as culpable as Alex."

    What's interesting is that I don't think Alex thinks like that. One of the others might think that way (worried about weaknesses), but not Alex.

    I've tried to explore Henri's thoughts a little, and I found them interesting. I doubt you'd ever guess what he was thinking. Though you might guess that he's trying to not think, lol.

    Ning, aha, finally. I was waiting for someone to be disgusted because it is disgusting. Even if they don't realize it, and Alex probably wouldn't. He really is a little special sometimes. Still, I would think the basic wrongness of it would be felt by the people in some way.

    I'll admit that Jimmy's reaction surprised me too, but it feels right. He definitely wanted to strange and threaten Alex, and I can see a little bit of confusion in that first picture where Alex is looking at him.

    I think that in his tribe it's even worst than basic lust. It's like claiming property. But Alex is special. I think I will definitely get to his piece. I took some *cough* interesting pictures that I think have sealed the deal.

  18. Ooops, Lunar. I should have checked your reply earlier. I only just now realise I posted it anonymously. But yeah, it was just me... Moondaisy.

    PS I don't think it's weird at all, because it works for me that way too. I do wish, however, I had a beret wearing gut like you do. :)

  19. short but succinct. And telling on a lot of levels. I did cringe while reading Alex's perception of relationships with women, the whole mounting thing. Fascinating stuff. Did Paula just introduce him to a whole new level of M/F interaction?
    And Jimmy was rattled by this more than he let on at first, Also fascinating.

  20. Thanks, Drew. Oh good, you should cringe, it's awful! But also very perceptive of you. Nothing we'll find out here I think. Though I will add that there's another who's also introduced him to a new level of m/f interaction, but we'll get to that.

    Jimmy is rattled. That's a good word for it.